Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large area of a sea or ocean partially enclosed by land, especially a long landlocked portion of sea opening through a strait.
  • n. A deep, wide chasm; an abyss.
  • n. A wide gap, as in understanding: "the gulf between the Victorian sensibility and our own” ( Babette Deutsch).
  • n. Something, such as a whirlpool, that draws down or engulfs.
  • transitive v. To engulf.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hollow place in the earth; an abyss; a deep chasm or basin.
  • n. That which swallows; the gullet.
  • n. That which swallows irretrievably; a whirlpool; a sucking eddy.
  • n. A portion of an ocean or sea extending into the land; a partially landlocked sea; as, the Gulf of Mexico or Persian Gulf.
  • n. A large deposit of ore in a lode.
  • n. A difference, especially a large difference, between groups

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hollow place in the earth; an abyss; a deep chasm or basin
  • n. That which swallows; the gullet.
  • n. That which swallows irretrievably; a whirlpool; a sucking eddy.
  • n. A portion of an ocean or sea extending into the land; a partially land-locked sea.
  • n. A large deposit of ore in a lode.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To swallow; engulf; cast down, as into a gulf.
  • In the University of Cambridge, to place in the gulf, or among those students who have barely escaped being plucked in their final examination.
  • To flow like the waters of a gulf.
  • n. A large tract of water extending from the ocean or a sea into the land, following an indentation of the coastline: as, the Gulf of Mexico; the Gulf of Venice.
  • n. An abyss; a chasm; a deep place in the earth: as, the gulf of Avernus.
  • n. Something that engulfs or swallows, as the gullet, or a whirlpool; figuratively, misfortune.
  • n. A wide interval, as in station, education, and the like: as, the gulf that separates the higher and lower classes.
  • n. In Cambridge University, England, the place at the bottom of the list of passes where the names of those who have barely escaped being plucked in examination are written. These names are separated by a line from those of the students who have passed creditably.
  • n. In mining, a large deposit of ore in a lode.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an arm of a sea or ocean partly enclosed by land; larger than a bay
  • n. a deep wide chasm
  • n. an unbridgeable disparity (as from a failure of understanding)

Etymologies

Middle English goulf, from Old French golfe, from Old Italian golfo, from Late Latin colpus, colfus, from Greek kolpos, bosom, gulf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French golfe, from Italian golfo, from Late Latin colfos, from Ancient Greek κόλπος (kolpos). (Wiktionary)

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